Distributing development assistance for health: Simulating the implications of 11 criteria
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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After years of unprecedented growth in development assistance for health (DAH), the DAH system is challenged on several fronts: by the economic downturn and stagnation of DAH, by the epidemiological transition and increase in non-communicable diseases and by the economic transition and rise of the middle-income countries. Central to any potent response is a fair and effective allocation of DAH across countries. A myriad of criteria has been proposed or is currently used, but there have been no comprehensive assessment of their distributional implications. We simulated the implications of 11 quantitative allocation criteria across countries and country categories. We found that the distributions varied profoundly. The group of low-income countries received most DAH from needs-based criteria linked to domestic capacity, while the group of upper-middle-income countries was most favoured by an income-inequality criterion. Compared to a baseline distribution guided by gross national income per capita, low-income countries received less DAH by almost all criteria. The findings can inform funders when examining and revising the criteria they use, and provide input to the broader debate about what criteria should be used.